Scrounger heads to Finborough Theatre

London theatre news: Wednesday 4 December 2019

Off-West End - Shows

A no holds barred look at Britain's treatment of people with disabilities from Olivier award-nominated writer and performer Athena Stevens heads to Finborough Theatre - the first show in the venue's 40th anniversary year.
Scrounger at Finborough Theatre

Image: Finborough Theatre

Inspired by real events and a lawsuit initiated by Athena Stevens, who herself has athetoid cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, Scrounger drives towards the realities of how Britain is failing its most vulnerable and the extreme cost paid by those seeking justice.

Athena Stevens said ...

"Scrounger is as true a story as you could put onstage in ninety minutes about an event that took over a year out of my life and ended with signing an NDA regarding settlement.

All of the true events are in the public domain.

I sat down to write Scrounger as a one person show, but it became clear very quickly that a solo show was not the form this play needed to take.

I could write a play about almost every day of my life because, when you live in the body that I do, avoiding conflict is not an option.

The problem comes in when the people you love, expect you to avoid conflict simply because they themselves have always had the privilege of doing so."

Born in Chicago, Athena Stevens is a playwright, performer and director.

She is a Creative Council member and Associate Artist at Shakespeare's Globe and is currently on attachment at the Finborough Theatre.

Her previous work at the Finborough Theatre includes Schism, which later transferred to The Park Theatre, and for which was nominated for an Olivier Award and an OffWestEnd Award for Best Female Performance in a Play.

Scrounger was previously performed as part of Vibrant 2019 - A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, whilst her play Genie was presented as part of Vibrant 2015.

As a writer she recently completed a screen version of her series Recompense as part of the Channel 4 Screenwriters Programme, and her forthcoming productions include directing and curating Notes to the Forgotten She-Wolves (Sam Wanamaker Season 2020 at Shakespeare's Globe).

She is currently launching the self-advocacy platform Make Your Own Damn Tea, is a Huffington Post contributor and is completing her first non-fiction book.

Athena is also a TEDx speaker, and Equality in the Media Spokesperson for the Women's Equality Party.

About the director

Lily McLeish is a creative fellow of the Royal Shakespeare Company, long-term Associate Director to Katie Mitchell, and director of Fizzy Sherbet, a new writing initiative for women playwrights.

She is currently opening While You Are Here by Eve Leigh, a new play for dance with choreographer Jonathan Goddard for DanceEast and The Place.

Direction includes Schism by Athena Stevens (Park Theatre), A Colder Water Than Here, awarded the Origins Award for Outstanding New Work (The Vaults), Housekeeping (Southwark Playhouse), Absence (The Young Vic) and This Despised Love (Royal Shakespeare Company Fringe).

Recent work as Associate Director includes Anatomy of a Suicide (Royal Court Theatre), Ophelias Zimmer (Schaubühne Berlin and Royal Court Theatre) and Norma Jeane Baker of Troy (The Shed, New York).

Based now in the UK and Germany, Lily graduated from the University in Cologne with a first class honours degree in English Literature and Art History, where she also trained with theatre company Port in Air.

Show listing information


"And I don't know how to engage,

With people of the wrong side of justice,

That can't be bothered to tell their left

From what's right."

The first production of the Finborough Theatre's 40th anniversary year, the world premiere of Finborough Theatre Playwright in Residence and Olivier Award nominee Athena Stevens's new play.

On the streets of Elephant and Castle, everyone likes to make speculations about Scrounger.

She needs help, she must not be aware of the complexities of the world, she is sent from the demons to torture her mum … at least according to her Nigerian Uber driver.

Scrounger doesn't care.

A successful online personality, she's got more power from her bedroom than anyone on the Southwark estates could dream of.

She's educated, she's ballsy, and with a huge network of online allies, Scrounger is a woman who knows how to make change happen.

That is, until an airline destroys her wheelchair.

Inspired by real events and a lawsuit initiated by Stevens herself, Scrounger drives towards the realities of how Britain is failing its most vulnerable and the extreme cost paid by those seeking justice.


Athena Stevens

Leigh Quinn


Author: Athena Stevens
Director: Lily McLeish
Set designer: Anna Reid
Lighting: Anthony Doran
Sound: Julian Starr

Sarah Lawrie for Aegis Productions in association with

Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre


Finborough Theatre
118 Finborough Road
SW10 9ED


From: Tuesday 7 January 2020

Closed: Saturday 1 February 2020


Previews: £14 (7 and 8 Jan)


Prices until 19 January 2020:


except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats.

Prices from 21 January 2020:

Tickets £20

except Tuesday Evenings £18 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £20 all seats. 


Prices until 19 January 2020:

£16 concessions

£10 tickets for Under 30's for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£14 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 11 January 2020 when booked online only.

Prices from 21 January 2020:

£18 concessions


Show website
ActDrop full listing for Scrounger

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